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Moontanman
Post  Post subject: Hi Tech Civilization on Titan?  |  Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:10 pm
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Let's do a mind experiment, if life exists on Titan, and some people think there is some indication it might, it's unlikely to be anything more than microbes...

BUT!

What if complex life evolved there and an intelligence arose, how advanced is it likely they could become?

I'll start by pointing out that metals we are familiar with would be unlikely to exist on Titan, no copper, no gold, no silver, no iron and no uranium!

Would the lack of metals as we know them prohibit or at least limit a high tech civilization on Titan or are there ways around this?

Some metals at least that cannot be useful in their elemental form on Earth would probably be impurities in the ice surface where frozen water rakes the place of silicates. Can we speculate with at least some confidence on technology under the conditions on Titan?


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Hi Tech Civilization on Titan?  |  Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:50 am
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I would ask how important technology is on the question of intelligence. Even here on earth, you have underwater organisms like squid, octopi, dolphins, and other extremely intelligent life forms that have zero technology and that use zero metals and even zero tools. I suspect that intelligent life elsewhere is both extremely possible and eminently likely, but we must be cautious and clear in how we define intelligence when having conversations such as these.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Hi Tech Civilization on Titan?  |  Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:52 pm
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something that occurred to me about humans attempting to land on an ice world like the moons of the outer solar system - if it is a rocket coming onto something other than silicate rock, wouldn't the rock dig its own grave

presumably the same would apply to any intelligent life attempting to perform any metallurgical refining process : the heat required to separate the metal from its ore would melt the surrounding ices, and any blast furnace would very likely sink down in a mush of liquidised / volatised alkanes

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Moontanman
Post  Post subject: Re: Hi Tech Civilization on Titan?  |  Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:47 pm
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marnixR wrote:
something that occurred to me about humans attempting to land on an ice world like the moons of the outer solar system - if it is a rocket coming onto something other than silicate rock, wouldn't the rock dig its own grave

presumably the same would apply to any intelligent life attempting to perform any metallurgical refining process : the heat required to separate the metal from its ore would melt the surrounding ices, and any blast furnace would very likely sink down in a mush of liquidised / volatised alkanes



Ice at those temps has some what different properties but insulation could help with that problem, we smelt metals like iron to temps high enough to melt silicates but the real problem is how do you generate heat at all?

As for the rocket the exposure to the exhaust blast would be so brief it shouldn't be a problem but there are other ways to land if it is a problem.

The only metals would be things like sodium, calcium, and possibly cesium and other light metals that dissolve in water, any really heavy metals would not be available except maybe as iron nickel meteors.


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Moontanman
Post  Post subject: Re: Hi Tech Civilization on Titan?  |  Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:09 pm
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iNow wrote:
I would ask how important technology is on the question of intelligence. Even here on earth, you have underwater organisms like squid, octopi, dolphins, and other extremely intelligent life forms that have zero technology and that use zero metals and even zero tools. I suspect that intelligent life elsewhere is both extremely possible and eminently likely, but we must be cautious and clear in how we define intelligence when having conversations such as these.


I understand what you are saying but for this discussion I want to see if any reasonable pathways to technology similar to our own is possible.

Would they be forever locked into a stone age?

How would they extract the light metals dissolved in the water ice crust?


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